TransGrid is helping to fast-track the integration of more low cost, zero carbon renewable energy into the grid by committing $180 million to upgrade transmission capacity in south-western NSW.
The upgrade of a key section of EnergyConnect, to be underwritten by the Federal Government, will future-proof the transmission network which is critical for the development of the planned South West Renewable Energy Zone, and it will enable the full benefits of Snowy 2.0.
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TransGrid executive manager of delivery Craig Stallan said by investing in the upgrade now, NSW households would avoid paying an additional amount of approximately $600 million to build a new connection in the future.
“We invest in our network to deliver reliability, affordability and sustainability—as the integrated system planner in NSW, we are constantly thinking ahead to provide the best outcomes for customers, communities and the energy system as a whole,” Stallan said.
“Greater transmission capacity makes our transition to a clean, low cost energy system possible. Today’s announcement will unlock 50 per cent more capacity now and allows for an additional 250 per cent (for a total of 300 per cent) when operating at 500KV.
“We are grateful for the support of the Federal Government for backing this upgrade which will fast-track the connection of more renewable energy to the grid, providing maximum benefit to consumers and the least impact on local communities.”
TransGrid anticipated the future need to upgrade the 330kV transmission lines to 500kV between Dinawan and Wagga when finalising the contractual arrangements for EnergyConnect, which means the work will be delivered as part of the existing contract with construction partner, the SecureEnergy joint venture.
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In May 2021, following regulatory approval of EnergyConnect, TransGrid confirmed it would invest $1.834 billion in the NSW section of the 900km interconnector. The project will save NSW customers $180 million per year and provide a missing link in the National Electricity Market (NEM) by connecting more low cost renewable generation and reinforcing connectivity between the state grids of NSW, South Australia and Victoria.
TransGrid is making the investment now to ensure the upgrade of the transmission network is accelerated to support the rapid transition to renewable energy. A regulatory process will be pursued at a later date.